I work with people to bring better food and more fun into the kitchen. I love farms and the farmers who produce our food who work so very hard to bring beautiful, nutritious and delicious food to our tables. I love my neighbors who’s rosemary and bay leaves I share and who eat my experiments and leftovers and family, friends and students who continually make my job more interesting.
Good, fresh, whole food should be a right not a privilege. And knowing what to do with that fresh produce is a big part of a healthy and vibrant community and planet. Yes, cooking can be a burden but it can also be fun, often quick, a stress reliever, and an endlessly rewarding and delicious process. You don’t need fancy tools or ingredients to nourish yourself and your loved ones everyday. Cooking has begun to be described as a radical, even revolutionary act but the likes of Michael Pollan and other food system “pundits”. It is certainly an empowering, self sustaining and healing act and one that brings us closer to our families, our ancestors, our neighbors, as well as our soil, water, flora and fauna. I want to celebrate and elevate these connections.
With years of cooking in various parts of the world (and quite of few of those in Oregon blessed with our unbelievable bounty) I have a good sense of what works together, some of the tricks you need to make the simplest ingredients sing, and mostly how to feed hungry mouths with the least amount of stress and the most amount of satisfaction.
I studied food and culture in Italy and Mexico (on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship) and grew up in Germany. I have worked in restaurants, however, my primary experience comes from feeding groups of people on the fly in many settings with whatever was available. These experiences have broadened my notion of what constitutes a meal and I often turn to my repertoire of dinner ideas beyond the classic meat, potatoes, vegetable trio.
I am a board member of Slow Food USA and was the leader of Slow Food Portland from 2003 to 2008. I am an ambassador for Oxfam’s Sisters on the Planet initiative. Locally I am a part of the Culinary Breeding Network and am a board member of Zena Forest Products, a family forest and sawmill operation. I am an avid gardener, cook and food activist. I live in Southeast Portland (Oregon) with my husband and seven-year old son.